A fast SWIR imager for observations of transient features in OH airglow
Abstract. Since December 2013 the new imaging system FAIM (Fast Airglow IMager) for the study of smaller-scale features (both in space and time) is in routine operation at the NDMC (Network for the Detection of Mesospheric Change) station at DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Oberpfaffenhofen (48.1° N, 11.3° E).Covering the brightest OH vibrational bands between 1 and 1.7 µm, this imaging system can acquire two frames per second. The field of view is approximately 55 km times 60 km at the mesopause heights. A mean spatial resolution of 200 m at a zenith angle of 45° and up to 120 m for zenith conditions are achieved. The observations show a large variety of atmospheric waves.This paper introduces the instrument and compares the FAIM data with spectrally resolved GRIPS (GRound-based Infrared P-branch Spectrometer) data. In addition, a case study of a breaking gravity wave event, which we assume to be associated with Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities, is discussed.